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20-01-2011 | Psoriasis | Article

Nonlight beer intake associated with psoriasis risk in women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Women who drink five or more nonlight beers per week have an increased risk for developing psoriasis compared with women who do not drink alcohol, study findings indicate.

Indeed, the research team observed an association between women's overall weekly alcohol intake and the risk for psoriasis, with a 1.72-fold increased risk seen in those consuming 2.3 drinks per week or more compared with women who abstained from alcohol.

Writing in the Archives of Dermatology, Abrar Qureshi (Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues note a "long suspected" link between alcohol and psoriasis.

"If certain types of alcoholic beverages have different effects on risk of psoriasis, then this fact would have practical implications for psoriasis prevention and management," they remark.

The researchers investigated the association between type and total alcohol intake and the risk for incident psoriasis, using data for 1069 female participants of the Nurses' Health Study II, which took place between 1991 and 2005.

The women completed biennial questionnaires detailing alcohol consumption, as well as reporting cases of incident physician-diagnosed psoriasis.

After adjusting their analysis for age, Qureshi et al observed a significant 1.89-fold increased relative risk (RR) for psoriasis in women who drank more than 2.3 alcoholic drinks per week compared with abstainers. This remained significant (RR=1.72) after adjusting for further potential confounding factors, including smoking, body mass index, and dietary folate equivalents.

When analyzed by type of beverage, including light and nonlight beer, red and white wine, and liquor, only nonlight beer consumption (≥5 per week) correlated with an increased risk for psoriasis, giving a RR of 1.76 compared with no alcohol consumption. This equated to an excess 1.53% risk for the condition, report the researchers.

They tested their findings on a subset of women whose incident psoriasis was confirmed using the Psoriasis Screening Tool questionnaire (86% of the cohort) and found a "materially elevated and statistically significant RR of psoriasis in women who consumed 2.3 or more alcoholic beverages per week [RR=2.54] and in women who drank 5 or more nonlight beers per week [RR=2.29]."

A possible explanation behind the alcohol-psoriasis association is barley, the starch source found in beer and not in the other alcohol types, comment the researchers.

"Starch sources such as barley contain gluten, which has been shown to be associated with psoriasis," they say, adding: "Although a gluten-free diet helps clear psoriasis, it remains unknown whether gluten contributes to new-onset psoriasis."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy

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